Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: People *do* & *can* Change, Despite Popular Disbelief. (2/17/18)

Screenshot 2018-02-09 at 11.51.14 AM

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

I’ve always been a firm believer that no matter what in life, you should always be yourself. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself being someone completely different in order to feel accepted or you’ll believe the environment you’re in isn’t going to accept you for who you are. I still believe, in any circumstance, you should tend to always be yourself.

Even if you don’t know who you are exactly (I mean, who really does?), at this age, you should have a decent idea on who you are and the things that make you, you.

But, what happens if you change? What happens if the band you liked a couple of years ago isn’t your cup of tea anymore? What happens if your beliefs as a teenager change when you become a young adult? Are you considered fake or dishonest? People often think that those who “change” is always for the worse, and never the better. Like, everyone’s favorite negative thing to say to another person is “you changed.”

What’s so wrong about maturing, growing up, and changing?

In the last couple of years, I’ve experienced a lot of friendship breakups; a lot from the people that I considered my closest friends in the last decade. In the last decade, I graduated middle school, experienced and graduated both high-school and college, and currently in grad school. I basically transitioned so many milestones in the last 10 years that are normal in human development. I had a group of friends in middle school who remember me as this innocent, pure, naive, and smart girl. I was considered the voice of reason because I was considered to always do the right thing. Being all of this, I was so very ignorant; I had unpopular opinions about weed, alcohol, sex, sexuality; things that I thought teenagers shouldn’t be doing. Because I had strong opinions on these subjects, these people in my life heavily believe that these things about me wouldn’t ever change.

I entered high-school and experienced most of these different things by the time I was 18. I lost my virginity when I was 16, I started to occasionally drink (really once in a blue moon with my best friend/now partner) when I was 16, and I really liked a girl when I was 18. When I expressed all these different things to my then-friends, slowly but surely they all saw me differently. My best friend in middle school admitted to me that she stopped talking to me for three years because of the latter happening and that I was hypocritical for saying what I said about bisexuality/sexuality in general when I was 15.

My question to her at the time was are you really going to hold something that I said against me when I was young, dumb, and naive? 

This is the thing about society that I wish we were able to reverse. We currently live in a society where we have to choose our words very carefully just in case we say something that is an unpopular opinion to the majority of people. Many of us don’t realize that the shit that we’re so hesitant to say nowadays is actually the same shit that we used to say when we were younger. Does that make us hypocrites? It makes us human beings who learn and grow up. 

I can unapologetically admit that when I was younger, I used to write the n-word to describe “my homies”. I even went further to say that it wasn’t a bad word if I replaced the “a” with an “uh”. Years later, I believe that if you are not African-American, or Black (and no Latino community, you are not within these age group, no matter if Dominicans/Puerto Ricans are “black”), you shouldn’t even be saying the n-word as a name of endearment. Because I used to believe that what I was doing when I was younger was right, doesn’t mean that I still follow that same reasoning and mentality now as a 24-year-old young adult. It also doesn’t mean I’m being “fake woke”. Lauren Jauregui said it best when she said, “We all weren’t born woke. We become woke through learning, growing, and experiences.”

Another point I have about people changing is people who cheat in their relationships. Society loves to say “once a cheater, always a cheater” and it’s one of those things that people believe time and time again because society exploits the few percentage of people who constantly cheat time and time again. I guess this could be about any mistake a person has made; people believe once that person has made that mistake once, they’re prone to always do it again, ultimately those mistakes making them who they are. As a person who’s made plenty of mistakes then and now, I don’t try to hold anyone accountable to their mistakes because I wouldn’t want anyone to hold me for mine. Of course, there are always circumstances where you have to hold people accountable for them and not give them second chances, but that’s in cases where a person is just genuinely toxic for you and your environment. Back to the conversation: people should be granted second chances to let them prove themselves that they are able to learn from their mistake and avoid making them again. I know I’ve made it my mission to take my second chances extremely serious and make sure that I learn from my mistakes and change it for the better next time. Of course, change doesn’t come overnight and that mistake may occur again in other situations, but it doesn’t mean you’re only your mistakes and that you’re not putting in the effort to change.

We as a society got to stop treating change as this negative and unimaginable thing that people go through. In the recent years, we’ve become acceptive to positive change like being more accepting to the LGBT+ community, women’s rights, civil rights, rights for every type of human being in the world. Yet, we judge our peers and our own friends for changing who they are and how they view the world in their eyes nowadays. We, as people, have told somebody that they changed with a negative notation. 

You should always view change as a sign of maturing. The class clown in your math class in public school may now be a civil rights activist that attends all the marches for human rights. The popular girl who was called a slut for dating too many boys in college may now be happily in love and married with children.

The girl who was the innocent and narrow-minded one may now be an experienced, open-minded young woman. I lived life these last 10 years, and who I was before isn’t an accurate representation of who I am now.

All I can say is that if you can’t accept (or try to accept) someone’s change, then maybe you just grew out of them and you guys don’t vibe anymore. The same middle-school best friend I was talking about earlier changed the same way I did over the years. We became two completely different people and we grew apart. It happens, and it doesn’t mean that the friendship I had with her during middle-school was for nothing either. I believe that people enter and leave your life at specific times and for specific reasons. I also believe that eventually, you grow out of people, no matter how they change and whatnot. Vibes are a real thing, you guys, and changing can ultimately result in the end of a good vibe.

Whatever the case may be, change is a necessity in life. Accept it. Embrace it.

-Liz. (:

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